Monday, August 25, 2008

Reviews:: Michael Rault CRASH! BOOM! BANG!


With all of the bastardization of the blues/garage rawk, hearing someone play those simple chords and spurt out emotional, rapid fire vocals has become eerily similar to falling snow. If you'd never seen it before, you'd stand looking up in amazement, instead of cursing the all too oft-occurring event. Much in the same way, hearing another young, white dude want to channel the greats is about as high on my list as the last few steps of my annual physical. So many bands have tried to replicate the amazing power and honesty, sadly, little succeed.

But the thing is, Edmonton's Michael Rault grew up with the blues. His father was a regular on the scene and the tradition of the spirited songs is not lost on Michael and his new EP - CRASH! BOOM! BANG! - shows that from the first song. Normally, your average 20-year old wouldn't have the balls to open his debut EP with a spirited take on a Bo Diddley classic (Pretty Things) and certainly wouldn't have the chops to pull it off. But Rault bangs it out, opting to strip out the harmonica and adding just enough sneer to the vocals to make it his own, and the two-minute song sets the tone for the rest of the record.

Clearly Rault is a young man who appreciates the past (one listen to Can't Hold On Much Longer is all you need to hear), but he isn't limited by it. His songs are steeped in tradition; for the most part this is just Rault, his guitar and a foot tambourine and his stripped down take on the blues, but he manages to avoid the "sounds like" pitfall, side stepping classical arrangements and progressions by adding a bit of sloppiness to the mix (his spirited take on The Police's The Bed's Too Big Without You is a perfect example of the energy he brings).

Rault's songs aren’t play by the numbers blues/garage arrangements and that's why they don't sound tired or derivative. He keeps the songs fun (Honey Bee sounds like on of those 50's jams you'd see people shaking their poodle skirts and hand-jiving to), but when needed they sear with a white-hot intensity (Side Winder) and sway with a gospel like feel (Who Will the Next Fool Be). He knows when to bulk it up, like beautiful Hammond and harmonica that complete the stomp heavy I Want You For Mine and most importantly, he knows how to make his songs stand out.

Not to simplify the equation too much, but hearing his take on bluesy, garage rock makes me wonder how so many people are missing the boat. In a only 19-minutes Rault proves that piss & vinegar, fun loving rhythm and blues ain't an artifact that should be forgotten or a style that can't be appreciated in today's day in age. More importantly, he shows that he's one of the few that can put some welcomed pep in your step.

Posted at 1:29 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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